Rick Warren Chief of Staff David Chrzan wrote to me last week to say WorldNetDaily made “some errors in definition, assumption and application” in our news story about the mega-pastor’s relationship with Rupert Murdoch.
In an effort to be fair, WND is publishing the response in full. But, to be honest, I’m still having a hard time understanding what the errors in our report are. Please decide for yourself.
“First, the story is based on the assertion that Rupert Murdoch, chairman of News Corp., is a member of Saddleback Church, which is not correct,” writes Chrzan. “In fact, he doesn’t even live in Orange County, CA, and has never attended a service here.”
And who made such an assertion?
The only person I know who ever made the claim to be Murdoch’s pastor is Rick Warren, who has done so at least twice publicly in reports he has never repudiated. In fact, his church has reprinted those reports appearing in the Orange County Register and the New Yorker.
In the New Yorker interview published in September 2005, Warren is quoted as saying: “I had dinner with Jack Welch (former chief executive officer of GE) last Sunday night. He came to church, and we had dinner. I’ve been kind of mentoring him on his spiritual journey. And he said to me, ‘Rick, you the biggest thinker I have ever met in my life. The only other person I know who thinks globally like you is Rupert Murdoch.’ And I said, ‘That’s interesting. I’m Rupert’s pastor! Rupert published my book!’”
In the Nov. 12, 2006, Orange County Register story, Warren was asked about pastoring a man who publishes tabloids featuring topless women. He responded: “I don’t have to agree with 100 percent of what another person does in order to work with them on the 20 percent that we do agree on.” The article also points out Murdoch was among the first patrons to support Warren’s PEACE plan, contributing $2 million.
It is clearly Warren’s own well-publicized claims to being Murdoch’s pastor that have caused concern among other members of the church. In addition to his mainstream media holdings, Murdoch has emerged as one of the biggest pornographers in the world by building a stable of hard-core porn channels for his BSkyB subsidiary. Even his mainstream media success has been built, to some extent, on the popularity of topless models in Australian and British tabloids.
That’s what concerns Christian leaders who have called on Warren to use pastoral discipline with a member of his flock – whether or not he actually attends Saddleback Church in California. They say when Warren claimed to be Murdoch’s pastor, he assumed some responsibility for his actions.
But Chrzan says such discipline would be “presumptuous and inappropriate.”
Perhaps, though, what was presumptuous and inappropriate was for Warren to claim spiritual responsibility for Murdoch.
While Chrzan was writing privately to me, Rick Warren’s official blogger, Mark Kelly, stated falsely that I had never contacted the church to determine whether Murdoch was a member of Saddleback. Indeed, I had contacted Rick Warren directly and received no reply.
That might explain why Kelly’s blog titled “No incentive for checking facts” was removed from the official Rick Warren Blog within hours of its posting. At least I can be thankful for that self-correction. However, I have not noticed Mark Kelly posting a public apology for bearing false witness against me and my news organization or for calling me “arrogant.”
“God’s kingdom is not well served by contrived controversy,” Kelly concluded. “The world needs to see the power of his love and grace at work in our lives, not ‘hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outburst of anger, selfish ambition, divisions, [and] the feelings that everyone is wrong except those in your own little group.’” The latter part of that quote is attributed to Galatians 5:20 in the namby-pamby, inaccurate, misleading New Living Translation made so popular by Rick Warren and his “Purpose-Driven Life” writings.
Maybe Kelly and Warren should use a better translation if they truly want to understand the Word of God.
Here’s what Galatians 5:19-21 says in the King James Version – and it is very relevant, indeed, to the topic at hand: “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
This is really the point. Instead of boasting that he is Murdoch’s pastor, Warren and his team should be doing everything in their power to steer him clear of profiting from the “works of the flesh.” In my humble opinion, he should also be returning the millions he has accepted from those “works of the flesh.”